Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Callum Rocks the Ramp (literally)

Are these the Dog Days of Summer?
It's been a great and remarkable one. The swampy nightmare I'm used to from Summers past has only just arrived. Janet is on a much-needed holiday in Australia (she returns - none too soon - in just a few days) and so it's just been me, Callum ,and Doc here at home. The experience has given me some serious perspective on what Janet's days are like when I am working my "normal" kamikaze studio sessions.
To all my single-parent friends, when next we meet, allow me to buy you a drink.
It's also been flat-out awesome having all this time with Cal. At first I tried to pack all sorts of Neat Stuff into each day, but after a few such manic days it dawned on me that maybe slow and steady might actually win the race. So, lots of time swimming, reading, eating meals together, walking Doc through the neighborhood. We did do a Baltimore Zoo trip with Julie Goodwin and her twin daughters, which was great even though it coincided with the arrival of Summer Hell. Callum was calling for Julie's attention at every turn - a natural reaction to an excess of Menergy in the house.
Cal has been rocking out in his Zippy Z-Bop power chair. Still building his navigational skills, but his therapists all agree he's really ahead of the curve. Today was his first high-gear foray up and down the ramp. We did a quick ramp session on Monday but it was all very slow and I had to push him on the way back up. Today he was working with his PT, Tiffany, and he was ecstatic to finally be going faster. He ran smack into the rail at the end of his climb back to the top of the ramp, and the look on his face was so fascinating. I couldn't tell if he pinched his toe slightly against the rail, or if it was just the feeling of having finally really hit something with a bit of force, but I could clearly see the gears turning in his head. This is the sort of thing he needs in order to really understand that the power chair is not a toy and that his actions have real consequences. It might sound weird, but this moment really made my day. Of course, no parent wants to see his/her kid get hurt, but I guess this was like a mini-version of him getting a skinned knee, and that's such a powerful lesson for kids as they learn to get around in the world. Growth in action. It was so amazing to see him mulling it over.
His negotiating skills are developing apace, much to my chagrin. Every night at bedtime he makes many convincing arguments for why he should have a break from his bi-pap machine. In fact he's a high-powered negotiator for or against anything he feels strongly about. And when he can't quite work up a reasoned argument (or the 3&1/2 year old version thereof) he still has the energy of youth in his favor and he is a master of relentless repetition. Which is how we can end up listening to the same Buzzcocks or Translator song 16 times in the car.